Police charge radio presenter with defamation

By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi 10 July 2022, 6:19PM

Police have confirmed a Sydney-based Samoan radio presenter, who flew home for a church conference this week, was criminally charged for defamation on Saturday evening.

In response to questions from the Samoa Observer, Police Commissioner Auapa'au Logoitino Filipo confirmed that Tiumalumatua Maifea Lasei was arrested by the Police on Saturday and released later on that day on bail. 

Police had begun investigations of the allegations of defamation against Tiumalumatua – who hosts a radio talkshow program which is live-streamed on "Samoa toe fa'aolaola-Samoa come alive" Facebook page and @samoacomealive website – after the Secretary of the Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party, Va'aaoao Salu Alofipo lodged a complaint.

It was not possible for the Samoa Observer to get a comment from Va'aaoao on Sunday. 

The accused has been asked to sign at the Faleolo Police outpost and will appear in court for criminal mention on Tuesday 2 August 2022. 

This newspaper understands Tiumalumatua traveled to Samoa for the Methodist Church's annual conference currently underway at Faleula this week. 

Auapa'au confirmed that Tiumalumatua has already surrendered his travel documents to police on Saturday for allegedly committing a crime under section 117 (A) of the Crimes Act 2013. 

Under this section, it says that :False statement causing harm to a person’s reputation – (1) A person commits an offence who publishes by any means information: (a) about another person; (b) that is false; Crimes Act 2013 51 (c) with the intention to cause harm to that person’s reputation. (2) It is a defence under this section if the information published is true. (3) A person who commits a crime under this section is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding 175 penalty units or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months.

On one of Tiumalumatua's current radio talk shows, he called upon the head of the Government, Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa to remove Cabinet Ministers La'auli Leuatea Schmidt and Olo Fiti Va'ai from their ministerial posts. 

La'auli is the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Chairman of the F.A.S.T. party while Olo is the Minister of Work, Transport and Infrastructure. 

By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi 10 July 2022, 6:19PM
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